بازرگانان استثمارگر ، انگل ها و دیگر اسطوره ها و افسانه: مجمع معامله گران و عملکرد بازار ذرت در شرق و جنوب آفریقا
|کد مقاله||سال انتشار||تعداد صفحات مقاله انگلیسی||ترجمه فارسی|
|15341||2014||12 صفحه PDF||سفارش دهید|
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Publisher : Elsevier - Science Direct (الزویر - ساینس دایرکت)
Journal : World Development, Volume 54, February 2014, Pages 56–67
Small-scale assemblers are both the most vilified and least understood actors in food value chains in Sub-Saharan Africa. Drawing on data from Kenya, Zambia, Malawi, and Mozambique, this article explores how maize assemblers influence the market access conditions of small-scale farmers. Assembly markets for maize are found to be highly competitive in terms of the number of traders operating and marketing margins. Farmers’ market access conditions in remote areas are particularly improved by the operation of assembly traders. Direct state operations in markets have sometimes unintentionally exacerbated market access conditions for farmers through their effects on rural assembly markets. While smallholder farmers face important marketing challenges, the brightest prospects for effectively addressing them require greater support for the development of competitive assembly markets rather than supplanting them.
Despite a rhetorical commitment to the liberalization of cereal markets, many governments in Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) continue to intervene directly in the acquisition and distribution of staple food grains, and the regulation of grain traders’ activities. These regulations and interventions tend to be carried out in an ad hoc way, as governments attempt to cope with the competing demands of food producers and consumers that underpin the classic food price dilemma. A strand of the literature on food markets in sub-Saharan Africa highlights the market unpredictability created by ad hoc state activity as being one of the primary obstacles limiting the improved performance of cereal markets ( Abbink et al., 2011, Jayne et al., 2006 and Govereh et al.,2010). At the heart of this highly interventionist approach to food market development is a persistent and widespread distrust of private sector actors’ participation in food markets. Of all the private sector actors involved in African cereal markets, none has been more maligned or misunderstood than the private traders who assemble grain at the village-level. 2 Frequently referred to as “exploitative briefcase businessmen,” “parasites,” or “the black market,” assembly traders provide a useful antagonist for governments seeking to justify continued state regulation of agricultural output markets. More specifically, assembly traders are at the heart of two interrelated narratives on food market performance in the region that have come to frame how and why governments continue to spend their scarce treasury resources procuring grain from farmers. The first of these narratives is that market liberalization and the resultant scaled-back role of marketing board activities has cut-off farmers, particularly in more remote regions, from reliable access to markets for their produce. This, in turn, has spawned a second dominant narrative: unreliable market access conditions compel farmers to sell their produce to village-level grain assemblers who exploit farmers’ lack of formal markets by offering prices that are below the cost of production. Unfortunately academic literature on grain assembly in rural Africa is scant and has provided policymakers in the region with little empirical evidence with which to better understand grain assembly in their countries and its effects on rural farm households. As will be discussed in greater detail in Section 2, the bulk of the academic literature has not provided basic descriptive evidence on the structure and behaviors of grain assembly markets. Rather, the literature has tended to approach the study of grain assembly in more indirect ways, e.g., through spatial and temporal price transmission analyses (for example, Myers, 2013, Myers and Jayne, 2012, Rashid and Minot, 2010, Tostão and Brorsen, 2005 and Van Campenhout, 2008). While such analyses provide very important insights, they cannot address many of the fundamental concerns of policy makers, such as how far farmers must go to find markets, how many buyers can they choose from, and why farmers in the same villages receive varying prices for their crop. The few explicit studies of grain assembly that exist have been preoccupied with understanding why the sector expanded so rapidly, relative to other parts of cereal market chains, in the wake of the agricultural market reforms of the late 1980s and early 1990s (for example Barrett, 1997, Coulter and Golob, 1992 and Santorum and Tibaijuka, 1992). In the absence of clear analyses of the effects of assembly traders on marketing margins and producers’ marketing behaviors, policy-makers in SSA have tended to pursue output market policies that limit the capacity of private sector traders, including assembly traders, from participating in output markets (Jayne et al., 2006;Tschirley and Jayne, 2010, Abbink et al., 2011 and Ellis and Manda, 2012). This has mainly taken the form of renewed public spending on parastatal marketing boards, which procure grains from farmers, frequently at above-market, pan-territorial prices (Mason & Myers, 2013). In Zambia, for example, the government routinely spends 25% of its budget for rural poverty reduction buying maize from farmers at the above market prices (Mason, Jayne, & Myers, 2011). Similar trends are seen with Malawi’s Agricultural Development and Marketing Cooperation (ADMARC) and Kenya’s National Crop and Produce Board (NCPB) (Jayne et al., 2009 and Kirimi et al., 2011). Because so many of the current public policy approaches to agricultural output markets reflect a tacit belief in the need to overcome perceived market failures in village-level cereal markets, the limited literature on village grain assembly is surprising. In the absence of a strong state presence in cereal markets, are farmers in rural Africa coerced into selling their grain to oligopolistic assembly traders? Are farmers in isolated regions cut off from output markets for staple cereal grains? This article seeks to shed empirical light on the ways in which assembly traders affect the performance of rural cereal markets. It does this in four interrelated ways. Using survey data from 205 village focus group discussions and 2703 individual farm-level maize transactions in Kenya, Malawi, Zambia, and Mozambique, the article examines: (1) What market channels are available to farmers in rural regions and what percent of transactions pass through each of these channels? (2) What are the market margins between farm-gate and wholesale/retail maize prices in nearby markets for the various available market channels? (3) How many assembly traders come into rural villages, and how does this vary in terms of standard market access indicators such as distance to urban market or distance to a paved road?, and (4) What is the effect of assembly trading on the distance traveled to the initial point of sale by farmers? Through this multi-dimensional analysis of rural grain market performance we argue against the dominant narratives of rural farmers being cut-off from competitive output markets for cereal crops and of assembly traders as noncompetitive rent extractors. Moreover, we argue that by directing public spending in ways that undermine the capacity of assembly traders to participate in output markets, governments in the region are hindering the ability of poor farmers with small quantities from effectively engaging in markets. The paper is organized as follows. The next section reviews the debates and data gaps in the existing literature on grain assembly in Sub-Saharan Africa. The third section describes the data sources and research methods used in this article. The fourth section presents the main findings of the analysis. The final section offers some concluding remarks on the investment and policy implications of the findings.
نتیجه گیری انگلیسی
This article has presented an alternative view on the grain assembly sector in rural Africa. Contrary to the widely shared vision of Africa smallholders as cut-off from output markets for their produce or held captive by predatory and exploitative traders, we have presented evidence from four countries of east and southern Africa indicating that village-level grain assembly is in fact highly competitive, both in terms of the numbers of buyers in villages and the low price margins they operate on. The development of the assembly trading sector is of particular importance to the millions of smallholders in the region who do not enjoy the economies of scale needed to directly link to large commercial buyers for their produce. Given the clear benefits derived by smallholders from the assembly trading sector, in terms of local market access and lowered search and transport costs, continued state interventions that undermine this stage in the value chain are worrying. Direct state marketing operations aimed at “improving farmers’ access to markets” may be particularly misplaced. Indeed, many of the policies pursued by governments to improve farmers’ access to markets directly undermine the performance of the assembly trading sector, and therefore limit farmers’ available market channels. Rather than thinking in terms of creating institutions to overcome perceived issues of market access and private sector exploitation, donors and governments need to think about how to help farmers to better engage with existing market channels and how to facilitate greater competition within the trading sector. This boils down to a combination of investments in market skills training for farmers, public support to foster greater trust in the private marketing system, such as through consistent testing and certification of traders’ measurement devices, support for the broader use of grades and standards, public investment in infrastructure to better link rural villages to urban markets, and investments to improve farm productivity, which will allow more farmers to engage with markets in the first place. Above all, governments may serve farmers’ interests by ensuring that the policy environment is stable and predictable enough to encourage private sector investment in all the various stages of the grain value chains (Abbink et al., 2011 and Jayne, 2012). Designing and adhering to a set of rules to govern how, when, and to what extent governments will intervene in grain markets will encourage greater investment in the agricultural sector. By so doing governments can capitalize on the gains that have been made since the initiation of market reforms in ways that are directly beneficial to small-scale farmers.